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Welcome back friends, Here we are again off the back of a massively successful launch, which racked up over 600,000 online views in just 3 weeks! Needless to say the overwhelmingly positive response completely knocked us for 6 but this has served to enforce our view that a magazine of this kind has come at exactly the right time. To all of the people who’ve sent in messages of support via email, facebook and sms, thank you all so much. Taking the initiative before launching issue one last month, we set the Jump crosshairs on Mexico to be our first big international feature and much of that experience is what fills the up and coming pages. In our 7 years as an organisation we’ve been blessed to have had the opportunities to travel all around the World but to date, we’ve yet to encounter such a warm and friendly welcome than the one provided by our Mexican brothers. Our simple hope is that the features within this issue come somewhere close to doing that fantastic place justice. Before you ‘jump’ head first into this second issue, we’d like to extend a big thank you to all of the PK/FR communities who saw this magazine exactly for what it was and helped us to spread the word in bringing the heat from the street. So without further ado, we present issue 2 with a heavy dose of raspados.....
Completely dedicated to Parkour & Freerunning
Editor In Chief Ez Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/ezstyla Associate Editor Claudiu Voicu Email:email@example.com www.facebook.com/claudiu
Issue 2 March 2010
Copyright © The Urban Freeflow Network. All rights reserved. ‘Urban Freeflow’ and the ‘Glyph’ logo are registered trademarks of Urban Free Flow Ltd
Athlete: The Frenzy (Slovakia) Photographer: Filip Tuhy Website: www.traceur.sk
Athlete: Victor ‘Showtime’ Lopez (USA) Photographer: Rich King Website: www.tempestfreerunning.com
PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN
By Ben ‘Bam’ Milner
With every group of freerunners, it always seems there’ll be someone nearby with a video camera, I myself got into the sport just cos I wanted to make films of it. It’s a beautiful thing after all. Nowadays I’m lucky enough to have a proper career in the industry, shooting music promo’s and concerts, but it’s shooting parkour that’s been the focus for the last 7 years.. I get a lot of emails from people who want to get into a career in the film or television industry, so I thought I’d throw in some advice. There’s no easy or certain path into the industry, and there’s a lot of competition. But the rewards are awesome, and well worth the effort. As they often say, it’s not what you know, but who you know. I myself did a film and media A-level, which taught me some basics, but nothing is looked on more favourably by potential employers than real experience and enthusiasm. It was getting the chance to be an extra on a music video during college that got me my first real experience on set. After a few chance meetings with the director, Steve Price, he let me be a runner on some of his shoots, and now, 10 years later, I work alongside him at Create Films as a director myself . If you go to film school, you will get to use some more professional equipment, but you have to share making the projects with lots of other students, and at the end, you may only have a couple of films to show for it. I got myself a camera and editing software early on, and just made films on my own or with friends because I enjoyed it. In the same amount of time film school would have taken I’d made 20+ short films. Getting your foot in the door on professional shoots is somewhat harder, if you lack experience you’ll have to help out for free on other people’s shoots and show interest in the process. Maybe you want to be a camera operator, hang around the camera, being helpful and asking questions. But don’t get in the way. You can find opportunities on small productions on websites like www.mandy.com or through www.shootingpeople.org. So, you want to edit a Parkour video..... I guess if you’re reading this digital online magazine then you’re geek enough to know that Youtube has been a massively influential area of the parkour video. When I first found Parkour, skate videos were still sold on VHS tapes in skate stores. The Parkour video has had the web as it’s friend, giving everyone the opportunity to bust a few moves on cam and let the whole world catch a glimpse. But of course, with all the freedom comes all the rubbish and a really good video is a rare thing. My own work has gone from the shaky early clips of 2003 to broadcast quality pieces that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing broadcast on mainstream TV. Some of the improvement has been due to technology, better quality cameras and the fact that almost anyone with a computer can now edit videos for themselves at home. But I’ve also picked up some shooting techniques that can instantly make your work look more professional, and things which will make your Parkour look more impressive on camera. Here are some tips that might help those starting out in the world of the PK/FR video....
Plan a little more....
Instead of just pulling out the cam every time you’ve just conquered a new move, then mashing the shots together like a slideshow of your greatest tricks, try and make a little more out of it. Work the move into a run, maybe even give the run purpose, like chasing someone. Or maybe get your friends in to do some choreographed moves at the same time. All of this will help towards making the video stand out among the Youtube masses..
Use a tripod where appropriate....
A shaky crooked handheld shot can be a massive give away of an amateur film maker. A tripod can give you the ability to put the camera in places where there’s nothing to rest it on and get a solid shot. With the right tripod you can also do smooth pans and tilts to follow someone through the landscape. Especially when zoomed in from far away because this amplifies the shakiness of the camera. If you’re going to do handheld, practice holding it steady, elbows in at your sides locked ridged. I even go as far as holding my breath sometimes for the short period the action takes place.
It’s all about the lens....
One of the reasons you can never get your movies looking Hollywood enough is that you just haven’t got a good enough lens on your camera. A lot of handicams have very small lenses, so the picture lacks depth of field (when the background is nicely out of focus.) Unfortunately a more professional camera with a nice big lens like this is usually quite expensive. Recently, SLR photography cameras have been adding HD video capabilities, and these give some pretty awesome results, but can be a bit shaky. One type of lens you can get relatively cheaply is a fish eye or wide angle, these can be screwed on to you camcorder (Check the size matches!). They give a wider field of view by bending the image into a kind of bowl shape thus catching more sick action, and making jumps look huge.
Don’t neglect the architecture....
Though you may be concentrating on capturing your well practiced kong technique, don’t forget the impressiveness of the gap or drop that you may be clearing. A wide shot of the move can show the audience the full size of the space you’re conquering. I like seeing the little human being dwarfed by his surroundings yet moving through them with power and confidence. Of course you can go in for closer shots of the same move and mix them in the edit to give more perspective on the move.
Increase the energy....
If you want to make the video seem fast and energetic, close ups will create more movement as the body passes throughout the whole frame, this combined with fast, short cuts will overwhelm the viewer increasing the pace of the scene. Another way to fill the frame with movement is to have multiple people choreographed to create action at the same time. This cascade of people always makes for more exciting footage. Any camera movement, including running with the camera, is another technique as the whole scene moves in the frame.
Keep the flow....
In each scene you shoot, it’s always good to let the person enter and leave the frame after the action. If the tracuer runs out of one shot and into the next it’ll help the continuity of the video and make it seem like they’re travelling from one place to the next, rather than just a collection of single tricks.
Cut to the beat....
A good edit is really important; it can make magic of even the most boring footage. Rather than just putting each shot you filmed one after another and putting your favourite song over it, try editing to the song. If you’ve filmed each bit of action from a few angles you should have enough to play with. Try making your cuts on the beat of the music, or maybe synchronise the beat with the person’s feet hitting the ground after each jump. I like music that has a quiet build up then a big break into the heavier part of the song. I use slow, simple shots like balancing or even just scenery shots as the music builds then I save my favourite big move for when the beat drops, and increase the cutting pace after that.. Good luck with it, and I hope to see your masterpiece on the interwebs soon.. Ben ‘Bam’ Milner shoots with a Sony Z1, edits with Adobe Premiere and moves mountains with Adobe After Effects. His Youtube channel can be found at www.youtube.com/ufbam A back catalogue of Urban Freeflow videos from the very beginning can be found at www.youtube.com/theufmuseum
A Parkour State Of Mind
By Professor Scott Jackson
The Cat Leap is arguably one of the most practical movements within Parkour, and is most commonly used when a distance is too far for a basic precision jump. Here is a breakdown of the fundamental parts of the Cat Leap.... The Approach – the way you enter into the Cat Leap will depend upon whether you are performing a static Cat Leap or a running Cat Leap. Both are extremely useful for specific situations. A static (standing) Cat Leap is most often taken off from both feet at the same time whereas, on the whole, a running Cat Leap will use a one legged take off.
The Jump....the static arm jump is much like the way you would perform a precision jump: using the arms to propel yourself in a forward motion towards the wall you aim to jump to, and an explosive drive from the legs. During a running Cat Leap the jump is usually off of one leg, so with the leg that is not pushing from the ground it is essential to drive it forward and guide you towards the wall. The arms are less prominent in the running Cat Leap but are still essential for gaining that extra distance. In both the standing and running Cat Leap the legs should be leading your body and guiding you towards the wall, ready to absorb the impact. If they aren’t leading you, get ready to French kiss the wall.
The Landing – so you’re flying through the air and realise you need to land this Cat Leap effectively. Be sure that your feet are the first part of your body to hit the wall in order to absorb the impact of the landing. Your feet should not be placed too high (or else you won’t be able to grab hold of the top of the wall with your hands) but also shouldn’t be too low that your feet slip down and your body hits the wall. Make sure they’re somewhere in the middle – this will be a personal preference and will take the ‘trial and error’ method to find out where your feet should be! Once you’ve hit the wall with your feet, grab hold of the top of the wall (your natural reactions should kick in here, if not, go and get a Reflex Test!). As a beginner, you may find you are not yet strong enough to support your body weight on a flat (non over-grip) wall and an over-gripped surface might be more suitable to get used to the feeling of it. It is common for a person to get scared during a Cat Leap and turn their body mid-air, which affects the landing. You should try and make sure that both your knees are not the same side of your body but either side like this , as this will protect your knees from tracking poorly and potential injury.
The Ending – it is important after the landing to ‘relax into’ the movement. Once you are firmly grasped onto the wall ‘sit’ back into the Cat Leap. The Cat Leap is most commonly followed by a movement known as the Climb-Up, though, in some situations it may be possible to drop to the floor afterwards. It is advisable for new practitioners to attempt to Climb-Up as much as possible in order to build strength. It is important to remember that practice makes permanent. Start small – just a wall in front of you with no gap and simply get used to the unusual feeling of clinging onto the wall. Try to experiment with different surfaces, over-grip, non-overgrip and never, never, never give up. Persistent action is the key!
Summary: 1: Jump towards the wall, using arms to propel the body forward 2: Use feet to absorb impact (feet first, not too high, not too low) 3: Use hands to grasp onto the top of the wall 4: Attempt to Climb-Up 5: Repeat, repeat, repeat!
The coolest new combinations are fast replaced by even newer and cooler ones. Brand new spots get played on and then rinsed to death before new gems are unearthed. Jogging bottoms get bigger and baggier before going back to being smaller as part of a never ending cycle. Up and coming noobs make the transition to becoming seasoned pro’s before the next wave of noob fills their shoes. You get where we’re heading with this one, right? The community doesn’t dwell on the past or even in the present, because right now is history in the next second. Gone! But here’s what stays the same.....the community. Parkour, Freerunning or whatever you choose to call it, has always been about the people on the streets...products of their environment. As big as the scene grows and as much as it changes, the people that are down and holding it together - and that’s us, you and me, your favourite pro, the other kid wearing a backpack and jogging bottoms, the guy standing alone coming to terms with his own fears and saying nothing - he’s one of us too. Everyone who runs - each of us - is part of this ever-changing yet everlasting community. Don’t ever forget that.
Planes, Trains and Chipotle
When we initially sat down and decided to make this magazine idea happen, we thought long and hard about which location to spotlight for our first international feature. Seeing as we are UK based, the obvious choice would have been London but we felt that it was an easy cop-out. We also talked about Lisses in France but again, it was too obvious and felt a bit cliched for the first proper feature. Instead, we decided to set our sights on somewhere that doesn’t receive as much credit as it deserves, so we drew two locations out of a hat. The first was Brazil and the second Mexico. After a long debate about the pros and cons we decided on Mexico and the thing that tipped it in their favour was because; 1) They already have a world class figurehead there in the form of Daer Sanchez. 2) They have the highest profile female freerunner in the World in the form of Kat. 3) They have a thriving community full of positive minded individuals. 4) We’ve been there before in a professional capacity and already knew key people there (Rodrigo ‘Rokk’ Fuentes of Monos Urbanos and Oscar Frias of the Traceur Project team). The fact that it was nice and hot there definitely sealed the deal. The hardest part though, would come in convincing Claudiu to conquer his fear of flying (crashing) but after showing him some of Kat’s facebook photo’s, his little head controlled his bigger head and the next thing we were on a plane half way across the Atlantic.
When In Doubt, Hit McD’s
Once we’d arrived in Mexico, had checked into the Hilton, made sure that we had adequate internet access and had then filled our bellies with the finest Mexican food around *cough cough.......McDonalds*. We then set about making contact with Rokk to arrange a meet up point for the next day as he’d kindly organised a large scale gathering. We then sat down and started arranging a shot list to take up all of the available time we had. Whilst we obviously wanted to report on a community jam, we had a list of things we wanted to tick off and top of the priority list included was an interview with Rokk, who is the frontman of Monos Urbanos and one of the first ever active practitioners in Mexico. He now runs an indoor academy in the suburbs of Mexico (more about that later) and one of his partners in the business is none other than Kat, who is without a doubt the most prominent female practitioner in the global scene. The fact that she’s a bit of a hot thing too, meant that a lifestyle shoot had to be on the cards and any excuse to be around her was fair game. In addition to all of this, we wanted to catch up with our old friend Daer Sanchez, who is the leading light in the Mexican scene and the man responsible for representing his country at the 2009 World Freerun Championships in London. Most interestingly of all, Daer had suggested that we should go out one night as a small unit for a proper night stealth run and personally, this was the one that got me buzzing most, as he’d said that they had some amazing spots to show us. So what follows might be a bit random in terms of structuring but we make no apologies for that. It is what is it....
Daer Sanchez performs a running precision
Jamming In The Sun
Before setting off for the jam Claudiu and I hurried to find some decent food. Seeing as the hotel menu was rank, we hit a McDonalds which was just around the corner. Luckily, it was just as crap as in the UK but familiarity gave us peace of mind, so it was a case of om nom nom and a fat McFlurry before jumping in a cab and getting riiiiiiipped off. A journey which google maps showed as being a couple of miles max, turned into a full on tour of Mexico City. The driver was blatantly taking us for a ride (literally) and ended up dumping us about 20 mins from where we wanted to go. Ah cabron!!! After a sponsored walk we finally bumped into Rokk and Kat by complete accident, greeted each other warmly and then shit talked for a while as we went to meet everyone else. When we arrived, there were about 50 people ready and waiting and the vibe was super friendly with everyone introducing themselves with handshakes and hugs. Our old friend Daer was there too and after a brief catch up he and Rokk got everyone together to explain what we’d be doing throughout the day. From there people split up to warm up and perform basic drills before we all walked to the central grass area for the real action to kick in....
The meet was arranged through Rokk and he set the hook up point to be at the Ciudad Universitaria. Here we see the first group of people turning up.
Eventually there were about 65 people in attendance which was fantastic as we’d at best, hoped for 20. Pleasantries were exchanged and the joking began.
Rokk and Daer got everyone together for a pep talk and to explain that we were As is usual at any jam, everyone says hello, warms up and then gets stuck into there to capture all the action from the day. Big smiles from all. sessioning hard. Here Rocko Rovira claims the first gap jump of the day.
After a while we headed over to the central grassy area of the Uni and everyone began to split up into small groups. It seemed as though they’d done this hundreds of times before and over time, more and more practitioners arrived to join in with the training. This particular spot has featured in a few of the Urban Runners videos and it was great to see it up close to really appreciate the scope. Whilst here we started to see great photo opps and threw out a few requests. Daer was the first to step up and as can be seen later, he used this roof to perform a nice run before launching himself off of it.
Frodo Loco gets some quality hangtime
The roof landing area
Bardo side flips off a pole Rocko Rovira performs a stride precision
One of many running precisions
Rocko Rovira again but this time it’s a diving kong
Daer precisions from the bridge
Sponsored Walk As soon as we arrived at the main grassy area of CU, everyone split into groups where some were working the roof, some were doing vaults and precisions at ground level and others were either tricking, filming, taking photographs or just chilling in the sun. Talking of the sun, it was absolutely blazing and was simply too hot to keep moving at pace. This saw bursts of explosive activity followed by periods of chilling and taking it easy, which was perfect for us and made for a really good vibe. The one person we wanted to focus on was Daer Sanchez, as he is a very prominent figure in the Mexican scene and he didn’t disappoint at all. He took us to a few spots where he performed some linked runs peppered with flips, vaults, precisions and a couple of big drops to rolls. Others who were really stepping up for the cameras were Rocko Rovira, Bardo ‘Samedi’ Javier Almanza Ramirez, Eduardo ‘Sweet’ Chavez Zacarias, Natan and Joel Fridman. All of whom had bags of skill and an infectious appetite for movement. Seriously, these guys were like dynamo’s and hardly stopped once. As the day progressed, they really got into the spirit of things and were keen to take us to as many spots as possible. Luckily because of the heat, everything was contained within the university area which was fine because everywhere we looked, there were amazing obstacles in all directions.
Busy Works - Thirsty Business! As much as these guys kept going, we had to constantly remind ourselves that we were just a couple of European ‘tourists’ and had to make sure we kept hydrated otherwise we’d have flaked out. Bardo recommended we try a Raspados from some dodgy looking dude with a trolley. On it was a big block of ice and mutliple bottles of flavoured juice.
time for no apparent reason. By now we were all joking about and sticking to the golden rule when in a foreign country, of asking to be taught all the bad phrases to say. Everyone took great pleasure in teaching us a selection of the crudest lines to say and found it hilarious when we’d repeat them back. Whoever said that language is a barrier in life was a muppet. As the day progressed, people started to peel away and this was prompted partly by the on-site security who obviously didn’t like the idea of 65 odd people jumping around. It was explained that this was natural for a big jam and was one of the reasons why most people jammed in smaller units. Undeterred, we moved on to our final destination which again, was on the CU property but because of the heat and the amount of effort everyone had put into the day, the vibe was even more relaxed than normal and most people just fooled about and sat talking. We took this opportunity to conduct a few interviews and to plan a night shoot with a small selection of athletes. It was decided that Daer would lead the way but first they would take us to get some proper Mexican food, so we said our goodbyes to the remaining people jamming and got in a car with Humberto, Daer and Ixek whilst the rest made their way to the restaurant by train. En route we pressed the guys for more expletives to add to our arsenal and they duly obliged....
The ice was scraped, chucked into a plastic bag and then had our choice of flavour added to it before being given to us with a straw. It looked very suspect but was delicious and led to us adopting ‘Raspados’ as the word of choice to shout at any given
With a fantastic daytime jam in the bag, the prospect of a night stealth mission with Daer and a small selection of the Urban Runners team, had us buzzing. Earlier in the day we’d run into a few hassles with security and we were put at ease by Daer who said “Don’t worry, we will show you some great areas at night time”. So.......after recovering from eating some fine Mexican food, we went back to the Ciudad Universitaria location where we’d spent most of the day. One thing that has to be said about CU is that it’s huge! At night with nobody else around apart from security, it suddenly became a very eerie place but seeing as we were on a stealth mission to grab some specific photo’s, a full-on cat and mouse game was about to be put into full effect. As we moved around the guys showed us some generic spots that to be honest, left us feeling a tad disappointed. We stressed that the clock was ticking and with everyone being wasted from training all day, we wanted to grab the best stuff straight away. After telling Daer that we really needed to get moving, he smiled and said “ok” and after climbing a few fences we ‘arrived’.....
SESION FOTOGRAFICA NOCTURNA
Whilst on a stealth run at night on the grounds of Ciudad Universitaria, we were told “oh we have this place to show you...it’s kinda cool”. After some sneaking about and clambering over fences, we were presented with this spot which is part of a disused dam project. It goes without saying, that it was definitely a jizz in your pants moment for us, as there was so much on offer to create movement. Even though it was pitch black and hard to see everything in great detail, It didn’t take Daer and the Fridman twins too long to warm up before they completely annihilated the place with big cat leaps, precisions and gap jumps. This pic was taken by Claudiu on a 30 second exposure to grab as much natural light as possible. We’re sure you’ll agree, that if you could pray for a perfect playground, you wouldn’t be disappointed to be gifted with this.
The moon kindly provided enough natural light for us to be wowed by this place, but it quickly became obvious to Claudiu and I that it was too dangerous to capture anything of note due to the danger. Daer, Joel and Natan had different ideas though and within minutes of arriving, they were scurrying around like rats as though they’d sessioned here thousands of times before and were acting on instinct. Here Natan performs a level to level cat leap with only the flash from the camera lighting up the area to allow him enough time to spot his landing.
By the time we arrived at this spot, everyone had been training since 10am and were flaked out. Daer being the pro he is, managed to find enough energy to crank out this nice gap that’s featured in a few of his videos.
Practitioners of PK/FR have a strange tendency to take off their tops at any given opportunity and in this instance, it was a chilly evening and there was no apparent reason other than taking a cruise to the local gaybar, gaybar!!
Natan, Daer and Joel in mid-flight.
A STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM
by Francisco “Pyro” Peñaloza
“You kid! You can’t be here, so go somewhere else to play the circus, OK?” I’m sure every single person training Parkour and Freerunning in the world has heard something similar, regardless of the place where you live. But, Do you truly know how it feels to listen to them almost everyday, everywhere, everytime? That’s the life of a Mexican traceur. In Mexico, Parkour and Freerunning are rare sports, almost unknown to persons aged around forty or fifty years old, add to that a lot a fair number of robbers who usually get in the houses by climbing a rampart or fence to get their “daily bread”, and you’ll get a lot of people fearful to be assaulted that, when watching somebody (usually a young person) jumping walls or vaulting a series of different sized obstacles, they’ll surely believe you’re learning how to get in their houses to steal their stuff, that (in some cases) might call the police to arrest you under the charges of “disrupting the peace” or “vandalism to the zone”. Or simply because it’s something they are unfamiliar with. So, what do Mexican Parkour groups try to do? They try to teach. Teach the people that it is a sport, a way of life, a form to avoid being fat and lazy, something that could be helpful for them if they accepted it in their lives; it’s also a constant struggle with ignorance, because Parkour/Freerun it’s not something that would not be printed on the front page of a newspaper, is it? A good way to do this is when training, start with some warming up followed by strength techniques, like push-ups or sit-ups, and then you can try practicing the monkey vault or a simple cat balance. After a certain number of these drills, go back to the push-ups and so on, just to show the people around you that your not merely “jumping around like a monkey”. Our training is a serious and disciplined thing, full of hard exercises, that expects you to give it your 100 percent. Also giving classes helps to improve how receptive people are toward Parkour, especially when you manage to gather between 30 and 50 persons per session in an outdoor class. Some people just pass by without even noticing, but some will stop, see what we’re doing and ask: “Are you training something? What is it called?” And even if they walk away after asking these simple questions, at least now they know a little bit more about what we do. Something rather interesting happened to some of my partners a few weeks ago; we usually train wallpass and other moves in some columns in our meeting park, about 4 or 6 meters tall; it’s a green zone made specifically for making sports, and you could even see some soccer players a few steps away; well, while they were starting to train, a couple of security guards from the park approached them and said, “Sorry fellas, you can’t climb those columns, they’re only for decorative purposes”. And when one of my instructors tried to explain them what they were doing, the other one said “Look, we are just following orders, and if you don’t clear the zone, we will be forced to maintain you under arrest until the authorities come to get ya”. So they had to pick up their stuff and leave. And even so, not everything is dark for the community. The number of Mexicans who know this sport is constantly increasing in comparison to past years, helping a lot when you’re training in public zones, because when a policeman or officer comes to you, and you believe you’re about to be kicked of the zone, your asked “Your training Parkour, right? That’s awesome!” And they ask you if they can stay a little while to see you training; that’s something that moves you to think “Hey, we must be doing it right, otherwise I would be on chains by now”. My conclusion? Mexican authorities are not completely aware that Parkour could seriously help the people to improve their health and their lives, but, little by little, that movement called Parkour is breaking its way through a thick wall of ignorance, demonstrating that is more than a simple trendy sport; it’s a new way of thinking that is making a lot of noise, and that is already changing the mentality of a lot of Mexicans.
Anyone who’s into the discipline and active within the global community online, will have already seen some of the many videos coming out of Mexico showing the Urban Runners in action. In each, there is a young man with a short stocky build who manages to stand out from the crowd. He moves rapidly with lots of controlled power and isn’t afraid to go big. This hombre is none other than Daer Sanchez and during our time in Mexico City, we hung out with him and made sure that we stuck to him like glue, to get a taste of his life as a disciple of Parkour.... Full name? Daer: Erick “Daer” Sánchez Age? Daer: 24 Years Old From where? Daer: From Mexico City How long freerunning? Daer: Since August 2004, more than five years now. Where did you find out about Parkour? Daer: When I was 16 years (in 2001) I saw a TV show about the Yamakasi. In that moment I did not know how that discipline was called, but I got absolutely caught up, it was something that put me into shock and at the same time I loved the beauty of their movements, I could not believe that the human body was able to move in such a way. The next day I went imitating what I saw on TV, I remember that day I could jump over the my dad’s car without touching it, I was trying to climb some walls and did some tall height jumps. As time passed by I started to forget what I saw on TV and I continued with my normal life. But some years later while surfing on the web I found David Belle’s video ‘On Avance Toujours’ and I was in shock one more time, it was even more impressive than I remembered. In that moment I decided that I wanted to train and that’s what I’ve done until today. What did you like about it? Daer: As I said before I loved the beauty of the movement, the way in which the human body can move, so free, fast and fluid as a feline or a monkey. I liked the philosophical part of all this too, because I learned to
understand life in a different way from how I did before. Now I am more aware of the things and especially of the preparation that I need to develop myself without problems in this society full of chaos. I learned to enjoy every moment of my life, the good and happy moments as well as the bad ones that can be full of sadness. Favourite place to Freerun in Mexico? Daer: I enjoy training everywhere. I can spend hours training in a small spot without problems but I think that CU in Mexico City is one of the best places to train not only in Mexico but in all the world <laughs>, because it has a lot of possible places to do Parkour. I have trained with my friends at CU for more than 4 years and we haven’t finished exploring that place yet. How long has the Urban Runners website been set up? Daer: UR website started since the group was founded in May 2005, probably it was made one or two months later that we set up the website. It appeared to help Parkour difussion in Mexico.
are the reason why I am still in this today and if I did not have such close friends to support me for so many years I probably wouldn’t be talking to you now. Your ambitions in Parkour...Do you want to do it as your full time job or is it a lifestyle thing? Daer: I don’t have major ambitions in this. I train because I want to, because I enjoy it, because it’s real fun going out to move. In the same way I am very conscious that my perseverance, effort and dedication in Parkour and Freerun has opened doors for me to receive something in return. Nowadays I live from the classes, workshops, participation in commercials, exhibitions, movies and all those kinds of commercial projects. I do this because it’s the only way in which I can spend all my time doing what I like and to help others. Maybe if I didn’t have these opportunities I would just be training happily and making my own films. Tell us a bit about the teaching you do. Daer: I think that knowledge must be transmitted from people to people, that’s why I teach the movement essence to the new generations. It is also a fun way to learn, because when you explain a technique many times to people, your mind and body assimilates it in a better way and you understand better how to move. But the main reason why I like teaching to new people is to keep my feet on the ground and fill myself with the effort and determination that they put into every training session. It is a very good way to keep you fresh and not to lock you with the same things always, new people always provide new ideas and new techniques to our discipline and I think that’s a very good thing. Your favourite shoes to wear for training in? Daer: In fact, I do not have a favourite pair of shoes to train. A great friend from Spain gave me a pair of ‘Kalenji Success’ more than a year ago and they were very comfortable and perfect to train in. In spite of the way they were used, they lasted a long time. After that I tried with Panam that are like the Mexican version of the Feiyue and although they feel very good they only lasted 2 weeks. When I went to London I bought 3 pairs of Kalenjis Ekiden 50
“It doesn’t matter which trainers I wear as none of them lasts me long”
How many people are in the team? Daer: There are a lot of people involved in Urban Runners and all of them are part of the team, it includes people attending our classes and the more experienced people that appear at events and commercial projects. We could say that there are about 100 people in the team. On the other hand there is something called “UR Family” that is completely apart from the commercial projects that are somehow vain things. The ‘UR Family’ consists of about 15 or 20 people that I really love, they are the people that have supported me since the beginning and push me every day to keep on with this and we all fight and evolve together and we help each other as a real family. They
Here we have a big cat leap that Daer needed to run at with full power to clear the gap and land cleanly.
Taking a rare breather from the action
and they were not so resistant, I wore out a pair in a month! Recently I bought a pair of K-swiss SI-18’s and they already have holes on the sole. So now I think that it doesn’t matter which trainers I wear as none of them lasts me long <laughs>. Your heroes in Parkour/Freerun? Daer: I have no heroes to follow in any area of my life. But in all the time I’ve trained I have trained and talked with traceurs that have provided valuable things to my own growth and they all have all my respect. Dani Sampayo from Spain and Danny Ilabaca are probably two of the people from who I’ve learned the most. Not only about Parkour but from life itself and I hope to be able to see them again soon. You competed in the 2009 World Freerun Championships. Explain what it was like for you? Daer: It was a great adventure, since the moment I arrived at the airport and the difficulties I had to get to the hostel, passing from problems that I had to communicate to the sensation of feeling nervous before apparing in front of the public and the excitement of being part of such a big event. It was incredible! I think it was an enormous experience because apart from a championship you can feel a big brothership between all the competitors. Without any doubt it has been one of the best experiences of all my life. Did you enjoy travelling to another country for something to do with PK & FR? Daer: Yes I enjoyed a lot the trip and learned loads. It was very enrichening in many ways. I met people from many parts of the world and learned a lot from them, and now some of them are very good friends of mine that I expect to see soon. On the other hand my English improved a lot since then and I am about to get back into my English classes so each time I go back I can have the chance to talk and communicate better. Was it your first time in the UK? Daer: Yes it was my first time in the UK and in fact the first time I’ve ever been abroad. Was it a cool experience to meet other Freerunner’s from around the World? Daer: Yes a lot! As i said before,
meeting all those people made me learn a lot, I made new friends and that is the most worthwhile thing for me. Is it something you would like to do again? Daer: Yes of course, it was avery nice experience, both competing in the World Freerun Championship and meeting and sharing with all those people. I woulde definitely do it many times if I could. Were you proud to represent Mexico? Daer: I might sound somewhat arrogant, but that is not important for me. I love my country, I feel happy and comfortable living here but it doesn’t matter being from Mexico or from Chile, Japan or any other country. I am a little humanist in that sense, I prefer considering the world as a big community free from a specific identity.
If you could train with anyone in the Parkour world, who would it be with? Daer: I had never thought about it before, but I think I would like to train with Oleg Vorslav someday. His unique way moving interests me. In addition, some of the traceurs I met in London told me some funny things about him. How do you deal with fear of big jumps or learning new techniques? Daer: When I have to overcome my fears to certain techniques or movements I try to relax first and after that I start to think that I really train my body in order to be able to make those movements. I realise that I have to make things when they require effort because if I don’t do them in that moment, as time passes by and I go back to do it, it won’t be hard for me because I will be more prepared. So I prefer doing things when they really demand effort, when I really have to control the fear and let the movement lead me so my body reacts in an instinctive way with all that I’ve learned and trained. What does it feel like for you when you learn a new technique? Daer: I compare this sensation with the one of a baby that has learned to walk and doesn’t want his parents to carry him, because he wants to experiment once and again that feeling of freedom. Do you see yourself as a Parkour practitioner or Freerunning one? Daer: I see myself as a practitioner of Parkour because that’s how I met the discipline. But in fact I don’t care if they call me a freeruner or traceur. In Mexico people tend to make enormous differences between Parkour and Freerun but I think that the important thing is being able to learn to move in an effective way and control every part of our body. Parkour movements and Freerunning movements will help you to have a better physical and mental control and I prefer to learn everything and combine it to have a better preparation. Have you ever been injured? If yes, please explain. Daer: The only serious injury I’ve had at Parkour was when I had just a couple of months training behind me. I made a height jump and fell over a rock so I lost my balance and that made me force my roll so my
“I prefer considering the world as a big community free from a specific identity”
Did the rest of the Mexican community support you? Daer: There were a lot of reactions, at the beginning many people did not understand my motives but after explaining to them that more than a championship it was a chance to travel, meet people and learn from the journey, they understood it. Most of the community of traceurs in Mexico supported me and that is something that I thank them a lot for. It feels good that the people support you to make your dreams come true. If you could go to any country in the World to train, where would it be and explain why you want to go there? Daer: I would like to travel to France especially to Lisses. Mainly because it’s the birthplace of Parkour. There are some places in Lisses that have caught my attention since I started training and I hope that I will be able to train there, learn from the local people and record my experience.
Daer moves rapidly and has a light sense of touch but backs this up with explosive power. Checkout this video to see why he’s one of our favourite practitioners - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlv0IpdNzP4
shoulder hit the floor. I stood up and walked home, as I walked the pain became bigger and bigger so I started getting worried. When I finally arrived home, with a lot of effort I took off my t-shirt and my shoulder was out of it’s place. After that I haven’t had any severe injuries and now I have about 3 years without injuries except for the usual things like bruises, small cuts, spranks and scratches. What tips would you give to any beginners? Daer: I would like people to be enough conscious of their environment, because there are a lot of people that only copy what they watch in videos instead of training properly. Information and knowledge are the best tools for a constant progress not only in Parkour and Freerun, but in every aspect of their life. So if you really want to grow effectively, read, investigate, learn from the people with more experience, train with them, train alone, build your own style, and overall the most important thing is that you have fun and enjoy every moment in your life. Every time you go out training try to keep that determination and excitement of the first time. Keep the essence alive forever. How do you feel when you know that many thousands of people are seeing and enjoying your videos on youtube? Daer: It is curious because I never imagined that so many people would watch my videos, now I have many people suscribed to my youtube channel and it’s kind of weird. It is nice that many people are aware of my videos because I have studied something about filming and audivisuals and regarding it I like that people enjoy my creations. As long as my videos provoke some kind of feeling into people I will be satisfied. Is it important for you to share your work with others? Daer: Not really. Of course it’s nice that people like my videos and that they comment on them, but in fact I simply upload all those videos because I like doing them. As I said, I’ve studied some things related to films and audiovisuals and enjoy filming and editing. That’s the only reason why I upload videos not
because I care showing it to people. I have many videos I have never uploaded to youtube. Name some people that we should keep an eye on. Who are the emerging stars from Mexico? Daer: In general, there is a lot of ability in Mexico but most of the people need to train in a more in an appropriate way to reach a better level. There are people starting to excel and as I see it they have a very acceptable level by now. Starting with the people from my own team I can mention Eduardo ‘Sweet’ Chavez who is one of the best prepared people I know with incredible strength, insane acrobatics and a very precise Parkour technique. Rodrigo ‘Rocko’ Rovira has pure ability, he is one of the people to whom you say “Do you think we can do that movement?” and he just goes and does it. Joel and Natan Friedman (twins) both with a lot of strength and with a very good mentality, they are some of the people who thanks to constant training, have acheived a lot of improvement and I think they have a very nice and inspiring level of Parkour. On the other hand talking about people from other teams I can mention Mauricio Mau Lopez who is a very talented traceur with explosive movements. Jean JC of Guadalajara, one of the veterans of Mexican Parkour, has a good balance between acrobatics and Parkour. I could mention some others but I think these are some of the most prepared traceurs that can provide big things to Mexican Parkour if they really want to. Do you eat healthy food? Daer: Not really <laughs>. One of the things I enjoy the most is eating and in Mexico there is a great variety of dishes and some of them are not exactly healthy, so being honest my diet is not that healthy. I have never followed any specific diet or things like that. My only addiction is to Coca Cola <laughs>. Do you do any other type of sport? Daer: Now I only do Parkour, but since I was a child I have been involved into sports because my parents taught me the importance of exercising myself. I’ve practised soccer, basket ball, gymnastics and Taekwondo.Taekwondo was my life before Parkour. I did it for 10 years
and I was national champion. If I wouldn’t have met Parkour I might be an Olympic winner in Taekwondo <laughs>. Are you very serious about your chosen discipline? Daer: Not really, I take Parkour and Freerun as something fun that I do daily. My training is not about making repetitions over and over again or something similar. My trainings are about tracing with my friends, joking around, playing, having fun, etc. I am not so serious with my way of training, I don’t like routines, but I do like pushing myself and ending with sore muscles after every training session. How long do you train for each day? Daer: I don’t have time limits for my training. The duration of every training session depends of my mood and how good I am feeling physically. There might be days in which I train 2 hours and some others in which I start in the morning and end up almost at sunset. How many days in a week would you normally train? Daer: I usually train daily and there are weeks in which I train one or two days, it all depends on how I feel. Do you think that you will still be training in 10 years from now? Daer: Of course, I train to improve and to last so I think that in 10 years I will be training very strong still and I will probably have a small child to train and play with. It would be little Daer training with his father <laughs>. Before we wrap things up, any people you want to shout out to? Daer: Yes, to my parents, my sister and the people from UR Family that have supported me during all this time. But mostly Ixek my girlfriend, who has been with me since I started in Parkour. I’ve learned a lot from her. Thanks Cabron. Daer: <laughs> A pleasure, man. www.urbanrunners.net
Precision jump to frontflip
A clear display of speed and power in this kong to precision
Athlete: Gary Lawrence (England) Graffiti Artist: Milo Tchais Photographer: Herman Poort Website: www.quito.nl
Athlete: Daniel Stang (Germany) Photographer: Joerg Kraus Website: www.ashigaru.de
Vauxhall....after issue one was dropped, we received
an overwhelmingly positive response to our hotspot feature and have been asked for plenty more of the same. So sticking with the London theme for this issue, we’ve bolted on an extension. This time around it comes in the form of Vauxhall which is another golden nugget area just waiting to be sessioned. Luckily, it’s only a 10 minute walk away from Southbank so if you plan your day accordingly, you can hit all of the regular haunts that Southbank offers AND get a total change of scenery at this spot. For many of the old skoolers who hit London, Vauxhall has now become the location of choice to session.
If you are on the Southbank riverside standing in front of the London Eye, continue down the walkway to your left for about 10 minutes. You’ll pass under Westminster Bridge straight away and the next one will be Lambeth Bridge. Here you step up to street level and work your way to Lambeth High St, where tucked out of the way is a small park that is home to one of the sickest precision areas. It’s basically a drained fountain with all sorts of intricate angles and levels that offer up precision, crane, stride, vaulting and gap opportunities. Most of the time it’s a desolate place meaning that you can session away without fear of being told to move on. This also means that from time to time you’ll see the odd wino or junkie doing their ‘thing’. Generally they keep themselves to themselves but if you’re there training alone and have anything of value on you, you’ll only be asking for trouble. So with that in mind, we definitely recommend training there in numbers. Positives: *Perfect place for drilling specifics such as mentioned above. *Quiet with hardly anyone passing through. In other words, hassle free from security/police. *Train station relatively close by. Negatives: *Seeing as it’s a dead zone and very quiet, it sometimes attracts undesirables who’ll hang out nearby. For the less streetwise of you, this will make you prime picking for a game of ‘let’s see what goodies you’ve got in your pockets’.
A few minutes walk away from Junkie’s Jungle on Vauxhall Walk is a gem of a location at the Vauxhall Estate. This place has often been described as Parkour Heaven because of the obstacles that are there for no apparent reason. Here you’ll find a multitude of walls, railings and small pillars that present opportunites to drill everything in the book. No matter what your level, there’s something here for everyone and because it’s perfect for entry level beginners, it’s become a favourite location to hold outdoor classes at. For a better idea of the location, check out this video to see it live and direct - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awTYqE6BytE
If you arrive at Vauxhall Estate and find that it’s jammed with practitioners, across the road is a small park packed with interesting toys. It’s a kids play area but the obstacles there provide the opportunity to do conditioning drills aplenty. In particular are some great balancing apparatus to allow for proprioception drills. There are also some bars to allow for chin ups and muscle ups. Positives: *Directly opposite Vauxhall Estate and is usually very quiet. *Relatively hassle free. *A whole range of obstacles that allow for lower level drills and conditioning. *Train station and shops close by. *It has a steam train as pictured above. Nuff said.
Positives: *Great range of obstacles that cater for beginners and veterans alike. *Completely hassle free as long as you don’t make too much noise and are courteous to the people who live there. *You should be able to find other practitioners training there pretty much all of the Negatives: *You might have to fight for your right to ‘party’ with pissed off 5 year olds who time, so solo sessions are few and far between. won’t take kindly to having some noob jumping all over their shit. *Train station and shops close by. *As with Vauxhall Estate, it’s probably not a wise idea to train there alone or at night unless you are streetsmart or are carrying an Uzi. Seriously, if training there Negatives: at all, the best option is always to go in a group so you can watch out for one *For beginners the surface areas of the climbable walls can be a bit rough on the another. If possible, try not to carry any valuables with you and steer clear of hands due to sharpish stones providing the finish. flashing your new Canon 5D MKII unless you are insured to the hilt. *Seeing as it’s on a council estate, it probably isn’t wise to drill there alone. *Training at night is a definite no no (as above) unless you’re there in numbers.
A close up of Junkie’s Jungle which is just screaming out to be sessioned
What is a muscle-up? The muscle-up is basically a dynamic pull-up followed by the extension part of a dip and as a strength exercise it targets the chest, back, shoulders, lower and upper arms as well as the abs. The muscle-up tests pretty much the whole of the upper body in terms of strength and also requires and improves core stability and co-ordination. Why is it useful for Freerun/Parkour? It is a helpful and efficient technique for getting your body up on top of scaffolding bars and other awkwardly shaped beams that you might encounter. Muscle-ups are also a great training exercise that will improve your strength and can be transferred to other techniques within Parkour, for example, climb-ups. How do I do it? The muscle-up is a very powerful movement and therefore requires a lot of strength. It is rare that a practitioner will attempt his or her first muscle-up and achieve it! So remember, by you trying this movement and “failing” it you are actually succeeding in activating and strengthening the necessary muscles for you to be able to perform it in the future. The technique involves hanging from the bar in a straight arm, over-grasp grip (palms away) fashion. From this position, an explosive pulling action is needed in order to bring the chest up towards the bar. (Here is the hard part!) Now, you must allow the hands to rotate around the bar (or switch slightly) so that the elbows are above the bar. This might be a point where your chest can be rested on the bar and you can celebrate/gasp for air. The exercise is not complete until the arms are straightened completely and in turn, raising the body over the bar. The hips will now be level with the bar and the arms straight. From this position, in a Freerunning situation it is usual for the practitioners to flick their legs backwards and precision on to the top of the bar. To repeat the muscle up, slowly allow the body to drop back below the bar. Whilst learning you may find that one elbow seems to lead over the other. Where possible, try and get both arms to come over the top of the bar together in a smooth action. It will require much practice! Is there any other way to do this? I’m not strong enough yet… The muscle-up is not an easy exercise and even those proficient at pull-ups tend to struggle, as both technique and skill are required to perform it correctly. If this exercise is too hard, begin by practicing on a bar that you can hold on to whilst standing (head height or chest height). Squat down, and then jump up into the exercise. This will allow muscle memory of the technique to develop. Once you have mastered this, try on a gradually higher bar until you are performing from a dead hang. As this is mainly a strength-based movement it is important to remember to repeatedly attempt it, as this will build the necessary muscles. Most people find that some swinging or “kipping” is necessary at first. Kipping is all about correct technique rather than strength. Kipping is also referred to (mainly by gymnasts) as an ‘upstart’. A gymnast’s upstart, however, usually uses more swing and requires more flexibility and form. If you are struggling on a hanging effort but can complete from jumping, try swinging forward slightly
Words: Sean Lerwill Photography: Lewys Jon Athlete: Frazer Meek
For more conditioning tips: visit www.commandoconditioning.com
(not too much because too much swing makes it even harder!) and on the back swing attempt the muscle-up; this “kipping” action can make all the difference. Kipping is most efficient when, on the forward portion of the swing, the head and chest are pushed out in front of the shoulders. So, remember, practice makes permanent and you need to spend the hours of practice in order to build the particular muscles required. Technique is a massive part of this and you will only find the proper technique for you by a matter of trial and error.
Don’t get disheartened if you don’t succeed instantly, just practice, practice, practice!
Ismael ‘Ish’ Oquendo Gets Jumped
From where? The Bronx, New York. How long training? For about 6 years. First found out about the discipline? First saw videos on google way before youtube was as big as it is now. Then met up with Urban Freeflow when you guys were here doing the Adidas store opening. I saw you all training at Battery Park and I was hooked. What was the main attraction? The movement is so different. It’s really efficient. It provides you with the tools to walk down the street with a different mindset and never get bored, as you can always find something to interact with. Obviously it helps you keep active too, which is a really positive thing. As a kid I had asthma and couldn’t do much but this helped me because I was having so much fun that I kinda forgot about the asthma. Any other sports? Tae Kwondo and Saholin Kung fu. Any qualities brought over from them into your Parkour? Martial arts definitely helped me understand my own body movements better for sure. Detail some of your exploits over the last 6 years. Any high end stuff? I’ve been involved in documentaries, been in magazines and done some commercials. Any highlights that stand out? If I’m honest, progression shines brighter than any commercial stuff. I’m more a pure Parkour guys and I’m really into fluid Parkour movement and progressing with that. So learning new stuff is what stands out for me. Where’s good to train here in NY? Battery Park and Central Park are good but there are so many other good spots to train at in New York. Are you guys well received by the feds? We always have problems with authorities trying to pick a fight. It’s a daily pain. Don’t they understand the concept of what you’re doing? Yeah but they still try to think of it as a negative thing but most people who see what we’re doing, can see that we’re training hard and trying to stay out of trouble. Do you actively get out to spread the word? Everyone knows about it here. We always do our best to spread the word here and we teach also. I used to teach at Equinox gym and have taught for NYPK. Now I’m with Urban Vanguard. Urban Vanguard? Yeah it’s basically a group of 5 people including me and our aim is to spread the word about Parkour in New York and to welcome everyone and anyone. We arrange
jams etc. Have you had a chance to travel much? Not outside of the US yet but I’ve been to some of the bigger national jams within the US (NY, Chicago, Texas). What can be expected there? Well everyone knows everyone and it’s a big meeting of minds with lots of fun thrown in. The US as a whole, is a bit of a sleeping giant that’s woken up now. Do you see big things happening in the US scene? You have to appreciate that the US is really spread out. We don’t have the luxury of being in the UK or Europe where you’re all much closer and able to attend jams regularly and share methods and ideas but yeah, I see big things happening here in the future. Seeing as everything is so spread out, do you view the likes of Youtube as being a valuable resource in order to keep a check on what’s going on? Definitely! I’m always looking out for new moves to try out. Do you have your own channel? At the moment my channel is www.youtube.com/extremewah1 but I’m going to set up a new one. Any wise words for beginners? Start from the ground and work your way up. Keep it all slow because if you know and understand all the little things that make a jump or whatever, it will help you in the long run. Lifestyle or vocation? It’s a lifestyle thing for me but I wouldn’t complain if I were able to do what I love doing as my full time job <laughs>. Shout outs? A big shout out to all the practitioners around the World. All the comments and support are much appreciated. Biggest shout to David Belle though, who I’ve met 3 times now. You trained with him at the Javits centre, right? Yeah but since then they tore that place down. It was awesome but now it’s gone! I’ve done a few things with him. He originally came for the District B13 premiere and then he came back for a training session which was pretty cool. The next time was for a festival where we had to kinda audition to be with him to show what we can do. Cool, how was that? Well it was pretty reckless. There were a lot of people who wanted to see David Belle and try to impress him. I trained with him the first day and when it came to the day of the performance, I opted out and told him my reasons which he understood. NY as a whole…..good community? There is a divided community but we’re still friends. Outside of business, we still come together to train and have fun. How many teams are there? There are a bunch of teams made up of friends but on the whole, it’s one big family. Training alone or in a group? I started alone so I prefer solitary training or with a very small group of friends. Lower level technical training or roof jumping? Down low for sure. It’s better to focus and get creative safely. If we had a time machine, where in the World would you want to train at right now? UK for sure. Real good guys and very high skill levels. I’d like to hit Cambridge. A closing message to anyone who might like the idea of heading to NY? If you ever want to come to New York, you’ll find a welcoming group of people who’ll take you to all the great spots and you’ll have so much to do here. Just go to www.urbanvanguard.com or facebook me at: www.facebook.com/extremewah1
Pedro Thomas of Brazil photographed by Tomasz speed
Bio: Tomasz Gudzowaty was born in 1971. He obtained a degree in law at the University of Warsaw. Among his interests are humanistic photography and the classic form of the black and white photo-essay. He began with nature photography and then turned to social documentary and for the last few years has been focusing on sports photography. He is particularly interested in non-commercial sports, and also those that are not present in the media, sports that are exotic, atypical or somehow outside the mainstream. His photo’s have been published in Max Magazine, L’Equipe, The Guardian, Newsweek, Forbes, Time and Photo and he is also the author of several albums. He is also the multiple winner of the most important photography contests, amongst others the World Press Photo, Pictures of the year, NPPA best of photjournalism. He cooperates with Focus Fotoagentur in Hamburg and Warsaw’s Yours Gallery. Urban Freeflow were engaged by Tomasz from late 2009 through to early 2010 where we provided a selection of athletes for a very ambitous shoot. It saw us shooting in London,Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Mexico City and the Caribbean. Working with Tomasz was for us, an absolute pleasure. He has a unique energy and a charismatic charm that only brings out the best in his subjects. This made for a really relaxed vibe on set and over the coming months, we’ll be displaying a selection of his work and we’re sure you’ll agree, it’s top level stuff. To see more of Tomasz’ work visit www.gudzowaty.com
d vaulting a car in Mexico City
Words by Ez Photography by Claudiu Voicu
The first time I came into contact with Rokk was back in 2005 when we were looking for a designer to help with our website and clothing designs. Amongst the pile of submissions we received, were some interesting pieces by a crazy haired guy from Mexico who had an eye catching artistic talent. We went on to commission a couple of his efforts and started to talk about Parkour in general, and it turned out that he had a background as a Capoeira teacher and Parkour was exactly what he’d been looking for. We kept up the email exchange for a while then got the chance to actually meet in the flesh when we were in Mexico City in 2006 to shoot an advert for SAP. We hung out and he explained that there was a good but small scene developing there and that he was trying to establish himself in a business sense so that he could dedicate all his time to doing what he loved. Fast forward to 2010 and we (UF) found ourselves in the position where we wanted to produce Jump Magazine with the notion of featuring different countries each month. We did an online recce of all the international PK/FR websites and Mexico ticked all the boxes as we already knew Daer as an international player on the World scene, we knew Kat as being one of the leading lights globally as a female PK ambassador and last but by no means least, we had history with Rokk and knew about his on-going project with Monos Urbanos, who have established themselves as one of the main PK organisations in Mexico. A few emails were exchanged and we told him what we were after from the trip and Rokk came back to us with an itinerary detailing what he’d set up for us during our stay. This included a large scale jam, a visit to the Monos Urbanos academy and a proper induction into the wonders of Mexican food. His attention to detail was much appreciated and gave an indication that he of all people had really got his shit together and that we’d have all the bases covered during our stay. So what follows is an interview we grabbed whilst we were on our way to their academy with Kat driving and doing her best to crash into anything that moved. Full name? Rokk: Rodrigo Fuentes but I’m best known as Rokk. How long have you been operating now? Rokk: Monos Urbanos has been around for about 6 years now and for me, it started out just as a hobby. As with many people who see Parkour on TV they want to go out and try it, so we gathered some friends and started doing it just for fun. As things progressed, the media suddenly became interested so we started to do things a little more organised and professional. Interesting stuff. So how did you make the transition from being a regular practitioner to making it a proper career? Rokk: I used to be a Capoeira teacher along with another friend who is also a part of Monos Urbanos and together we had this idea of making things more organised and teaching the discipline side of things. This was very different from other groups in the beginning because hardly anyone used to warm up and would say “how can you form a line to warm up for a discipline that’s meant to be about freedom?” but we stuck with it and we started to get people more and more people asking us for classes, so we set up sessions for beginners.
Rodrigo ‘Rokk’ Fuentes: Director of Monos Urbanos
The Monos Urbanos classes were really well structured with 3 classes running during our day there. In total we saw just under 100 students passing through their doors and refreshingly, there was a good mixture of kids right up to parents taking part. Skill levels were varied with raw beginners and veterans all mucking in and training hard.
Seeing older practitioners rolling up their sleeves and working hard, was great and the gave off the impression that the classes were open to absolutely everyone.
What was the first thing you saw that drew you into Parkour? Rokk: It was a show called ‘Ripley’s Believe it or not’ that showed these crazy people from France. And what did you do after seeing it? Rokk: My first thought was to find a teacher in Mexico. I didn’t start out with the intention of setting up a group. I just wanted to learn, so I searched everywhere online for a Spanish forum but the only thing I could find was Urban Freeflow <laughs>. What was it that prompted you guys to set the classes up? Rokk: Well when we trained, there would always be new people joining in with what we were doing so we ended up teaching what we knew anyway. So we set up a beginners class on Saturday’s and a more advanced one on Sunday’s. This was a success so we started thinking that with teaching, we could do something really good. At the time I was a freelance designer and a Capoeira teacher and I made a choice to drop everything and dedicate all my time to Parkour. How was the notion of properly structured classes received within the community? Rokk: People were divided. When we used to go to the jams in the early days and would warm up properly etc, people used to look at us weird. Then when we announced the classes some people questioned why they should pay for classes when it should be a ‘free sport’, but we have a background in teaching martial arts classes and knew that there are people who wanted organised tuition instead of just turning up to jams. Most people understood what we were trying to achieve. How big are your classes? Rokk: We have between 150 – 200 regular people on our books and can have from 20 to 30 people at each class. Was your website the first in Mexico dedicated to Parkour? Rokk: Daer set up the Urban Runners one at about the same time as us but there has never been any war about who started first. We’re all good friends. One thing I noticed with the daytime jam yesterday was that there was no beef at all and all the different factions seemed to get on. Are there any politics at all? Rokk: We are one big community and everybody gets on with everyone else. Of course there can be personal issues sometimes where one person might not believe in the other persons philosophy but generally, it’s just a small issue. Most of the people at the jams have at some time been students of Monos Urbanos and Urban Runners. Some go off and form their own groups and some switch groups. It’s no problem at all. Outside of your teaching you also have a performance team, right? We have your showreel on the Glyphmedia channel and it looks really impressive. Rokk: Thanks, we’ve done commercials, music videos, TV stuff and live performances but it’s just a bonus to what we normally do. Our main focus is on the teaching. Do you enjoy the high end commercial work? Rokk: Sometimes, but the reality of it is that it can be boring to wait around so long. The viewer only sees the end result but we as performers have a lot of hanging around to do. That said, it’s really enjoyable to be treated so well by the production companies and to do things you wouldn’t normally be allowed to. I think it’s great if you can do a job you love doing and get paid well to do it.
Has the sport become mainstream here yet in the sense that your average man on the street knows what it is? Rokk: I think it’s slowly getting there. A few years ago you would say ‘Parkour’ and nobody would know what you were talking about but now more people seem to know. I’ve also done interviews for magazines and newspapers where I’d be asked what I do and when I say Parkour, they just look at me. Then I say I’m a part of Monos Urbanos and they say “Ah, Monos Urbano…..yes I know”. This can be quite amusing sometimes <laughs>. Well you’re obviously doing something right. In terms of spreading the word, what do you do through your website? Rokk: The website for us is very important and we always get emails from other Latin American countries which is cool. We try to make our news page one that promotes others instead of just us. Anything that we feel will be of interest to our community, we’ll put up. Most recently we opened up our Facebook page which has gone down really well. You mentioned other Latin American countries. Do you get people coming to Mexico to train with you? Rokk: Not a lot but we get requests all the time from countries like Columbia and Argentina asking us to head over to teach. Hopefully we can do this one day. Within Mexico, we always get people coming to train from other states and this is really good. The first time we hooked up was here for the SAP advert and you then came to London to support ‘Sarge’, when he competed in the first World Freerun Championships and infamously wiped out. Explain in your words what happened? Rokk: It was a really fun trip to the event but I think he was maybe a little nervous at the level of skill there of all the competitors and he was like “Oh my God” and figured out that he’d need to do something to stand out. He certainly did that! He earned himself the name of ‘Chin Cat’ Rokk: <Laughs> Oh man, we really shouldn’t make fun of that <laughs>. I know but seeing as he was ok in the end, he had to get some good old fashioned abuse. In all seriousness, he was the very first athlete up to run at the first ever World Champ’s. He had the music, crowd and TV cameras to contend with. He must have been absolutely crapping in his pants. How was he before all this? Rokk: I spoke to him before and told him not to try anything he’d never tried before and to concentrate more on flow. So we looked at the course and planned out his run. After 10 minutes he said “Ok, here’s what I’m gonna try and do” and said he was going to underbar to the level below!! I was like “I’ve never seen you do this…where have you seen this….how do you know it can be done?” and he was saying “No, no, no I can do it. I’ve already tried it before”. The rest is history <laughs>. Thank God he was ok because I thought he’d gone and killed himself at the time. Outside of the bail Mary, was it a positive trip? Rokk: Yes of course. We met many people and 2 or 3 days before the event he was in Lisses, France, so that was special.
Here we see Kat taking control of the beginners class. Outside of teaching she’s an accomplished practitioner and is a leading figure for female practitioners around the World. Click this link to see her in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu5pNwiKbRA
I was speaking to Humberto yesterday and he said that Sarge is currently out of action with a knee injury? Rokk: <laughs> He has the worst luck ever! Yes he’s out of action after having surgery on his knee but it wasn’t Parkour related. He’s one of our main instructors at Monos Urbanos and it’s a very frustrating time for him. Damn! Please pass on our best wishes. Rokk: Sure, but you might see him at the academy today. Moving on to Kat, who is the highest profile female practitioner on the international scene right now. I’m saying that hoping that she eases off the gas pedal and stops trying to kill us all <laughs>. How did she get into it? Rokk: I’ve known Kat for a long time and in the beginning she didn’t want to train in Parkour. I had to force her to train but I did it because I knew that she would be very good and had so much potential. At the time a friend of mine said “I don’t think a woman can do Parkour” so I made a bet with him and told him that I knew a great girl from Capoeira who would be good at Parkour. When I actually managed to get her to train, she was addicted and never looked back. She teaches with you now, right? Rokk: She’s one of the first generation of teachers and has a real gift for teaching which you will see. Seeing as she’s probably the only girl in Mexico who not only has a good skill level, but looks attractive too, I’m guessing that she’s in demand by media companies? Rokk: Yes, she has a massive advantage of being the only girl in her field. If Kat doesn’t crash, we’ll arrive at your academy. Tell us a bit about it? Rokk: We are very lucky to have great facilities at an indoor gymnastic centre. The classes themselves are very basic in structure in the sense that we conduct a thorough warm up that includes some conditioning. Then we move onto specific techniques that we drill but a lot depends on the level of the students on the day. Today we are running a big beginners class followed by an advanced class and then one more beginners class. In these classes we have kids and adults and sometimes we also have the parents of the kids joining in too, which is great. When we teach indoors, we mix it up and include Parkour and Freerunning techniques but when we teach outdoors, we teach Parkour only. So we’ll see a selection of different people? Rokk: Yeah, we cater for little kids, girls, boys, adults, parents etc. Do you get a sense of satisfaction knowing that you’ve laid the foundations and are running a successful business? Rokk: Oh yes, it’s great. Small examples are having kids come through the academy who might have issues where they are overweight or lack motivation and a year later we have their parents coming to us saying that their kids are much healthier, stronger, more confident and outgoing. This shows that Parkour really can make a difference. Once you start Parkour, you never see the World in the same way. What’s the ultimate goal for you? Where you plan to go with this baby? Rokk: I want to continue this for life and to keep growing. It would be great to see Parkour being accepted in the school system and for the art to be there for everyone instead of just being underground. Right now we are teaching in one of the most important universities in Mexico City, so we are heading in the right direction. Anything to pass down to beginners now? Rokk: Simple….start slow and take your time learning. If you can, find someone who can pass down the knowledge properly. Right now there are so many videos and so many websites that’s it’s easy to get confused. Ok, looks like we’ve finally made it safely to the academy, thanks for the chat carbon. Let’s see what your academy has to offer. Rokk: Thanks man I’m sure you will enjoy. Summary: As a whole, the Mexico trip proved to be a fantastic one. The scene in general is in great hands and is moving in the right direction with a real sense of unity. If training on the streets is your thing, we’d recommend the Urban Runners very highly, as their ‘way’ is one of old skool training where they simply get out there and do it 24/7. For us it felt as close to underground as possible and at times with them, we felt like we were living on the edge and really celebrating the notion of absolute freedom. On the flipside, there’s Monos Urbanos providing well thought out and structured sessions for the masses and aside from being great fun, they instill all the right messages about safe training and the importance of practice, practice, practice. When we bring the two together, we’re left with a big collective of people who jam as a family with no issues other than the shared desire to move. If you’re reading this and are planning to travel somewhere in the future to practice Parkour/Freerunning, you might have the UK or France marked down as being right at the top of the list. But give Mexico a look before you do anything. They have great weather, fantastic locations, a really friendly community with bags of skill. Plus the food is pretty good if you steer clear of McDonalds. To find out more about Monos Urbanos, checkout www.monosurbanos.com
In the main picture here, we see a the warm down at the end of the class. Overall the classes were very well structured and looked like great fun. Inset picture above shows the aftermath of Sarge’s infamous attempt at landing a cat leap with his chin.
Athlete: Daniel ‘Stoney’ Stone (England) Photographer: Claudiu Voicu Website: www.claudi.co.uk
iPhone Photo Graffiti
iPhones.....these days it seems as though pretty much everyone has one that they bring to jams and tuck away in their bags or pockets. Yes they might be unpredictable at times and the apps can be hit and miss. However, with a bit of inside knowledge, a regular iphone with the right apps can go some way to helping you capture those PK/FR moments in time when a Canon 5D MKII uisn’t readily available. Here are a few apps that are definitely worth checking out in order to turn bog standard pics into something close to being ‘cool’. Camera One This baby rules all with its x 4 zoom, simulated flash, colour correction and self timer. Cost: £0.59 Quad Camera This one takes a series of 4 or 8 shots and puts them into one photo. Cost: £1.19 Photoshop Mobile This app is a super basic version of Photoshop and controls exposure, saturation, tint, lens blurs and a bunch of filters. Cost: Free of charge Pano Very simply, this app allows you to take panoramic photos. Cost: £1.79 Tilt Shift This one lets you apply lens blur adjustments to a photo to mimic a tilt-shift lens. Cost: £1.19 Polarize This fun app makes it look like you’ve taken your pics on a polaroid camera. Cost: Free of charge Pic Vault This one allows you to create secure folders so that curious friends can’t view your naked PK pics. Cost: £1.79 Camera Bag Give your pics 11 stylish looks such as infrared, instant, 1962, cinema or fisheye. Cost: £1.19 Night Camera This app determines when you are holding the camera the most steadiest when taking pics at night, meaning that they come out sharper. Cost: £0.59 Now get out there and capture something worth capturing......
Athlete: Jake Belle (Australia) Photographer: Brooke Whatnall Website: www.brookewhatnall.com
Scott Jackson puts the K-Swiss SI 81’s through their paces.... Shoes that are ‘perfect’ for Parkour and Freerunning are a bit of a sore point right now. Especially so with some of the bigger companies who initially saw the rapid rise of our street movement as something that could be exploited. During the early years we saw specialist shoes being produced by the likes of K Swiss, Adidas, Five Ten, Inov-8 and a host of others and whilst some were good, one thing that was overlooked was the price point, with some shoes costing upwards of £70GB Pounds!! Another thing that slipped under the radar was the strength of the online community who literally spoke with their feet and ignored the dominant brands by searching out cheaper alternatives. At one point the saviour was found in UK based Decathlon who produced a shoe called the Kalenji Success. These were quite possibly the blandest looking shoes in existence (even tramps would think twice before wearing them) BUT they were deemed to be almost perfect for our sport and most importantly, they cost as little as £9 a pair!! So in effect you could save the money you’d spend on a more expensive pair and stock up on a years worth of supplies in one hit. Even though Decathlon didn’t ship internationally, the UK community formed a shipping network where they were being sent out to fellow practitioners all around the World. Overnight this cancelled out the marketing campaigns of the bigger brands aimed at the core community, but in a sudden twist of fate and without warning, Decathlon decided to discontinue the Kalenji Success and their next closest model came nowhere close to filling the gap. This flung the door wide open again and the hunt for the perfect shoes continued. Right now, the SI 81’s are the shoe that has the community buzzing again, so we’ve got our hands on a pair to see if they really do the trick.
Weight: The K-Swiss Si 18 are a good weight especially when compared with the bulkier, heavier
shoes such as the Kalenji Success. They definitely have a nicer feel on your feet whilst training and don’t feel as if you have concrete blocks cemented onto your feet. They’re also not too light that you lose faith in shock absorbency and support. 4 out of 5
Comfort: Very comfortable for training in. There was nothing noticeably uncomfortable or wrong
with them at any point and I happily wore them all day with no discomfort! 5 out of 5
Style: These trainers come in all sorts of different colour schemes, making them slightly more
personal to you. K-Swiss have created some with a mesh upper, which give the impression of being slightly more breathable and flexible, and some with a leather upper. After training in these and putting my Kalenjis back on I suddenly realised quite how hideous and embarrassing Kalenjis actually are! 5 out of 5
Grip: For those who have been worried about spending money in the hope that a trainer would
provide good grip, worry no longer. As the sole is simply one piece of rubber it mimics the Kalenji Success’ grip. I could confidently attempt cat leaps, rail precisions and walltricks without thinking that I was going to credit card myself and/or die. As with most trainers, the grip improves over time as they get worn in. 4.5 out of 5
Shock Absorbency: Absorbency is adequate. They have a nice, thick foam base but not too
much that you can’t actually feel what you’re doing. Certainly better absorbency than Vibram Five Fingers or Feiyues. 4 out of 5
Value: Probably one of the most fundamental things for most of us is price. These trainers seem
to vary from site to site, with the cheapest I found at a mere £18.31 (excluding postage) and the most expensive at £41.00 – so between 20 and 40 quid isn’t a bad price considering the standard and durability of the shoe. 4 out of 5
Overall: Although the K-Swiss website says this is a tennis shoe, I personally think they should
have marketed this as the “Freerunning Shoe” instead of the Ariake! These shoes are stylish and comfortable, but more importantly they have some seriously nice grip, even on rails which is when it counts the most. They’re seemingly very durable meaning you wont have to replace them constantly due to wear and tear. Overall, I give the K-Swiss Si-18 Rannell a very well deserved score. 4.5 out of 5
Athlete: Pasha Frost (Russia) Photographer: Boris Borisov Website: www.onemoreday.ru
This is a classic noob moment where John E Random sets himself up for a backwards rotating wallspin, which is actually a fairly difficult move to attempt for any beginner. Although the approach looks slow, he gets enough momentum to complete the rotation but spends a bit too much time looking for spare change on the floor after he lands. Thinking he’s looking all cool for the camera, he exits and looks up just in time to take a big bite out of the post box before knocking himself out. Click the link at the bottom of this page to see the video version and be sure to crank up the sound for the full effect. Got any bail footage to recommend for future naming and shaming? If yes, please send links to: firstname.lastname@example.org www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jbL-rj-f_I
Photo by: Claudiu Voicu
The first time we saw Cetkata in action was in 2008 at the first ever Redbull ‘Art of Motion’ event in Vienna, Austria, where he’d been invited to represent his native country of Bulgaria. Before the event he told us that he had a hairline fracture in his ankle but was so desperate to represent his country, and to be a part of Freerunning history that he decided to soldier on without making a fuss. Some might have called him foolhardy, but his warrior attitude cemented his status in our eyes and he went on to give a very good account of himself and proved that aside from his skills, that he was an all round nice guy too. Fast forward to Sept 2008 and he was one of the first people to get the call to compete at the World Freerun Championships where again, he stepped up and repped on all counts. One of the first things people notice about him though, is his height and standing at 6ft 6” he’s certainly an imposing figure, so we’ve caught up with him to find out a bit more and to see if his height has been a negative thing during his PK/FR journey. Full name? Tsvetan Stefanov Hristov. My tagname is Cetkata. How old? I’m currently 21 years old. How tall? I stand at 6’6”. Where from? I’m based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Years in Freerunning? The day I started was the 11th February 2006. Years as a pro? I don’t really consider myself as a ‘professional’ but I have been paid to jump for different projects since 2007. I’ve competed in different events and been a part of different tours. I was also a winner in the Fort Boyard TV show in 2009. Has your size been a problem? Not really for Parkour movements but it has been for the flipping side of Freerunning. How has being tall made it difficult when it comes to Freerunning? Maybe it’s because of the mass and weight or maybe it’s just the air in the gym as it’s very very sweaty up there <laughs>. Do you see being tall as a problem overall? Not really. If you are big you decide how to manage your training routines and just deal with it. Have you found that because of your size, you are able to precision further or jump higher? Yes I have but maybe that is why I kept having injures - falling from higher and doing stuff that I probably shouldn’t have, but what is done is done. Hopefully everything goes well from now and I can at least jump for a couple more years before my body collapses <laughs>. I love to FREERUN! What advice would you give to anyone who has issues with their size whether it’s because they are too tall, too small or overweight? It all comes down to the mental strength of a person and if you want to change the things that can be changed physically, you have to work hard. But the real truth for being too tall or small is that you will just have to manage in this world with the qualities you were born with. There are no AVATARS in real life sorry :) Any message to send out to the community who will be reading this? Well....I hope to meet as many Freeruners as I’ve met in the past years and hope to have many more great times. I’ve made many friends as a BIG man freerunner and I couldn’t really ask for more. Any last comments before we bid you farewell? I have a saying in life “Падам - Ставам и пак напреде продължавам!” (When i fall - i get up and go ahead) and a personal favorite of mine from UF “Even though i seek perfection, I wear my scars with pride”. Thanks brother. A pleasure. For more about the Bulgarian scene checkout www.freerunbg.com and www.s-x-3.org
A TALL ORDER
A quick catch up with Tsvetan ‘Cetkata’ Hristov the tallest man on the pro circuit...
Photo by: GreenBox Arts Cetkata prepares for his run during the Fort Boyard TV show
“I don’t really consider myself as a professional”
Photo by: Teddy Toshev
Physically Witnessed By Some, Shared With Millions.... In this section of the magazine we’ll be grabbing a selection of video edits from our Glyphmedia channel and will be putting them in the line of fire for more attention. In this issue we’ve selected Pedro Thomas, Daer Sanchez, Kie Willis and Chris Harmat to get the spotlight treatment.....
Colapso Existencial Featuring Pedro Thomas from Brazil, this video has caused a stir for 2 reasons. The first is because of his crazy oversized ninja trousers which has the community divided, but with most thinking they are awesome. The second is for his silky smooth skills and flow. Those who’ve had the pleasure of meeting Pedro will testify that not only is his skill level solid, but he’s also one of the nicest guys you can meet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqu-XqXYMGU
Daer He’s already had a massive spotlight shone his way in this issue, but Daer Sanchez never fails to impress with his speed, control and power. Hailing from Mexico City, Daer is the frontman for the Urban Runners team and is a fine ambassador for Parkour/Freerun. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlv0IpdNzP4
Shake Your Body Featuring UF’s very own Kie Willis from the UK, this video has been received so well because of the marked improvement in his game. Already an active youtuber with his own channel, this video caused a stir because of his precision control that was matched with rapid speed. Short n sweet video but great all the same. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-ZjJZZY1G0
Chris Harmat This video features Chris Harmat from Basel, Switzerland and in it he shows a solid all round game. In particular his 360 precisions and reverse vault to cats have provoked a positive reaction in the comments boxes on our channel. Someone to keep an eye on in the future.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qud8WZItcZg
Athlete: Eduard Caryakyn (Russia) Photographer: Kyryll Minakov Website: www.parkourcity.ru
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